1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

Just another music list

When You’re Young – Visiting Cousins

When You’re Young – Visiting Cousins

When You’re Young – Visiting Cousins

If you were at school during the very early eighties, then the hip kids back then were listening to Depeche Mode. I’m talking about a time long before they became a global phenomenon. ‘Speak And Spell’, their first album, was initially only available on imported vinyl in South Africa and difficult to get, but we loved the synth driven sound that they produced.

My guess is that the 2 guys who made up Visiting Cousins were amongst the hip guys at whatever school they were at because the year after ‘Speak And Spell’ was released, they came out with a single called ‘When You’re Young’. It has the same feel as those early Depeche Mode songs, probably most closely aligned to the Mode’s ‘Dreaming Of Me’ which was released as a single and not included on the album. There is the coldness of the early synththesizer sound, coupled with serious voice which is not in the X-Factor, note perfect realm. But this is what made that music interesting. While the instrumentation seems cold and impersonal, the realness of the vocals gave it its charm. And, like Depeche Mode, they had a catchy tune.

Very little information is available about the group. They appear to have released only 2 singles (‘When You’re Young’ and ‘Looking Down’ in 1983) and all their songs were written by people called Vallero and Land. The picture sleeves of the singles depict 2 dudes with New Romantic hairstyles and dress sense looking moodily at the camera. While a number of local bands (although not many) had success with synth driven music (think Petit Cheval and The Helicopters), they tended to take it in a more commercial direction, imitating the likes of Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran. The Visiting Cousins were one of the few that I have come across who were making songs like the early Indie synth bands such as Depeche Mode (before they made it big) and Fad Gadget. ‘When You’re Young’ is a bit of a lost classic from a bit of a lost genre, and sadly, very hard to find online.

Where to find it:
Various Artists – Sharp Cuts Vol 1

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